The Month in Review - July 2002

Aug 7th 2002

Scott Green's Month in Review

July 2002

July DVD Releases

July was a strong month for anime releases with the highly anticipated releases of the Escaflowne movie, Evangelion1: Death and Rebirth, and the first volume of His and Her Circumstances2 (Kare Kano). Other major releases include the first volume of Hellsing3, the second volume of Berserk, Ranma ½ - Hard Battle - The Complete Third Season Boxed Set and Getter Robot Armageddon - Power Pack collection.

1: The two significant Evangelion movies are "Death and Rebirth", and "End of Evangelion". There are other movies, but they amount to re-cut versions of these two. The first half of "Death and Rebirth" is a summary of the first twenty four episodes of the television series with new footage for transitions. The second half of the movie the beginning of its new conclusion. Nerv, the organization that employed the mech Evas to battle invading angels in the series is assaulted by the Civil Defense Force. The first part of "End of Evangelion" is the second part of "Death and Rebirth." The second part of End of Evangelion is the conclusion to the series.

2: His and Her Circumstances is a shoujo school drama directed by Anno Hideaki, creator and director of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

3: Hellsing is a horror action about the vampire Arucard, working with a secret police force to battle the undead.

Ghost in the Shell News

Bandai Entertainment, INC. has announced that it has acquired the home video, and broadcast rights in North America for the highly anticipated anime television series - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Created by Production I.G (Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade, Love Hina), original story by Masamune Shirow (Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell), directed by Kenji Kamiya, and music by Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne) - Stand Alone Complex is the television series sequel to the animated film that redefined Japanese animation, Ghost in the Shell (1995).

Further production and release details on Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex in both Japan and North America will be forthcoming. Production I.G has launched the official Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex website – which can be found here at: http://www.production-ig.com/Ghost_TV.html

It's in production in Japan, but there is no set airdate yet. Moreover, the episode count hasn't even been firmly established. The production cost of 800 million yen, however, makes it one of the most expensive series made. In fact, the budget is higher than that of many anime movies.

Dark Horse will be releasing The first of the 12 issues Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell 2 Man Machine Interface manga this October. Dark Horse has been waiting for Shirow to finish the story and its color 3-d art to his satisfaction.

Newsarama has pictures of Man Machine Interface here.

Translators Studio Proteus on whether there will be standard and adult versions:

Regarding the status of the "standard" and "adult" versions of the books, Shirow has not decided on that yet--or, to be more accurate, he waffling now. He modified the pages from the limited hardcover release for the mass-market paperback in Japan, and at first he seemed amenable to letting us do a version with the original images, but now he's not sure. He seems to feel he may have gone a bit too far in the hardcover. At this point all we can do is wait and see what he decides. You'll be able to purchase the issues via mail order or at your friendly local comic book store.

Manga Anthology News

Shounen Jump

Viz's Shounen Jump lineup includes:

A limited time deal 12 issue subscription of Shonen Jump are being offered for $19.95 on their web site at www.shonenjump.com/subscribe_mag.html.

The magazine was promoted at San Diego Comicon. See here. According to Viz's Director of Sales and Marketing, Dallas Middaugh, all comic shops in the United States should have received 10-20 copies of the free Shonen Jump #0 to give away in their stores the first week of August, while the first two monthly issues of the series will be fully returnable to the publisher.

Raijin Comics

The upcoming weekly manga (comic) anthology Raijin has announced their line-up on their site at www.raijincomics.com/;

  • Fist of the Blue Sky by Hara Tetsuo is a Fist of the North Star prequel set in 1932 Shanghai.
  • City Hunter by Hojo Tsukasa is a crime adventure starting a lecherous body guard who will only accept women clients.
  • Slam Dunk by Inoue Takehito is an incredibly popular basketball series.
  • Bomber Girl by Niwano Makoto is a cute and sexy sci-fi action.
  • Guardian Angel by Sakurano Minene is a magic girl series.
  • Baki the Grappler by Itagake Keisuke is a martial arts tournamtent series Hidaka Yoshiki, a Japanese born Harvard professor, and advisor to the White House and US Navy on Japanese-American relations.
  • Revenge of the Mouflon by Ono Yoichiro: an action packed tale of terrorism, involving a hijacked plane over Japan, and the passenger that takes a stand in the face of oppression.
  • Encounter by Konohana Sakuya: a science fiction mystery, and this year's winner of the International Manga Prize in Japan!
  • Keiji by Hara Tetsuo: high-octane historical action featuring the rebellious samurai Keiji!

Gutsoon! will be publishing trade paperback collections of a "remastered" and full color edition of Fist of the North Star in the near future.

A DVD will be offered with a one year subscription that will feature the first episodes of Fist of the Blue Sky, and Baki the Grappler.

Smile

TOKYOPOP has confirmed the cancelltion of their shoujo (girl's manga anthology) Smile, reportedly to free up more resources for their "Authentic Manga" line. The titles that appeared in Smile will be released in graphic novel collections.

Pulp

Similarly, the final issue of Pulp was released by Viz, freeing up resources for other projects such as Jump. The titles currently in Pulp will be continued in graphic novel collections

Macross Zero Details

Anime News Service reported for Macross Zero, the story takes place 1-2 years before the original Macross, the film will be a mix of 2-d and 3-d animation, and the Outlaw Star character designer will be doing the characters for Zero. Unfortunately, Kanno will not be doing the music for the anime, because Kawamori felt it would be too similar to Macross Plus, and he likes to begin each Macross fresh. And while no singer for the anime has been announced, it will definitely be a woman. The songs themselves will have environmental themes. Unfortunately, the Macross Panel could not comment on the recent Big West/Tatsunoko dispute.

The Robotech Information Center has the design for the upcoming Macross Zero's VF-0 valkyrie. According to Anime Nation the four episode OAV (direct to video) series will feature 2D characters with computer generated 3D mecha. The first episode of Macross Zero is scheduled for Japanese release on October 25th.

New Gundam Series

Mobile Suite Gundam Seed, the next Gundam series has been scheduled for TV this October. The stand alone series follows two six year old protagonists as part of the orbiting colony force who steal five prototype Gundams.

The animation production staff includes supervisor Mitsuo Fukuda (Gear Fighter Dendoh, Cyber Formula), Kunio Okawara (MS Gundam, Gaogaiger) & Kimitoshi Yamane (Cowboy Bebop, Ryvius) as mecha designers, and Hisashi Hirai (Ryvius, Gulkeever) as character designer.

Licencing and upcoming releases

A huge ammount of licencing news came out at Anime Expo, and then some more at Otakon...

ADV Films

News licenses from ADV include the Blue Seed OAV, Sorcerer Hunters OAV, Nuku Nuku Dash, King of Bandits Jing(Bandit King Jing), Steam Detectives, Super GALs, Cosplay Complex, Zaion OAVs, Pretear, Rahxephon, Kolaida Star, Shirayukihime Densetsu Pretear and all of animated Steel Angel Kurumi .

Right Stuf's website describes Zaion (I Wish You Were Here) as a Gonzo Digimation (Blue Submarine No. 6, Full Metal Panic!) production, and is directed by Seiji Mizushima (Generator Gawl, Dai-Guard) from scripts by Natsuko Takahashi (Vandread). A virus comes to Earth from outer space, infecting humans and turning them into hideous, mutated monsters. Soldiers equipped with nano-technologically powered cybernetic armor are deployed to stop the infected creatures.

RahXephon is one of the most people animated television shows in Japan this year.

Noir will be coming very soon, and is currently having its voice actors cast. Noir reportedly combines French Noir and Hong Kong action style gun battles in a series about a pair of assassins, one who can't remember her past, the other who is haunted by hers.

ADV has the new director's cut of the recent samurai action OAV, Kenshin. They will not be using Bang Zoom! for this series.

They are still hoping for a theatrical release for the You're Under Arrest movie, a more action/thriller take on the series about a pair of women traffic cops; and they are stilling showing around Super Milk Chan for television.

Super Milk Chan is often compared to a demented version of Powerpuff Girls. Milk is a super-heroine with a robot assistant who is called by the president to save the world, but is also called by her landlord to pay her rent. Much of the series' humor is pop-culture parody. Its opening is a montage of parodies of 60's and 70's anime series. According to EX some of the series' cameos include Marie Antoinette as depicted by Rose of Versailles, a Matsumoto Leiji reporter and Colonel Sanders.

ADV announced that Dai-Guard volume 1 will be released on September 17th at $29.98 for 5 episodes. Dragon Half will be released on the 24th.

They announced at Otakon that they acquired the rights to the first two seasons of Sailor Moon uncut, in Japanese, the second season of Orphen, and Saint Seya.

ADV will be releasing a Premium Paul Champagne Perfect Collect Gasaraki box set in the vein of the Evangelion set.

Bandai Entertainment

New acquisitions include Argent Soma, Melty Lancer, .hack//SIGN, Infinate Ravious, and Kikaider 01. They will also be released Love Hina Xmas special bundled with episode 25 in time for Christmas. They are still asking for Lova Hina Again and the Spring Special. The Ronin Warriors OVA will be released from Bandai next year.

Argento Soma is a 25 episode science fiction tragedy series from Studio Sunrise (Gundam). Protoculture Addicts points out that unlike many revenge mecha series, rather than focusing on a growing teenager, this series revolves around a young adult man. The series is directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama (The Big O, Giant Robo).

Melty Lancer is a five episode series about a group consisting of a recently released convicts, and a group of delinquent girls who protect earth from zealots, and alien criminals.

G-Gundam starts airing on Cartoon Network Monday-Thursday. G-Gundam will be released across 10 DVD at 5 episodes each.

The ecologically themed sci-fi Arjuna will be anamorphic widescreen and both track with be 5.1. There will be directory commentary from Kawamori.

On the Sunrise classic line, the master quality on the stuff is so low, that they have to do restoration work on the titles.

The Cowboy Bebop "Best Sessions" DVD will be released in November with six episodes remastered in 5.1 and DTS sound.

An early winter Love Hina release will feature the 25th episode of the TV series, and the Christmas special. Bandai is looking at the possibility of releasing the remaining Love Hina special and the Love Hina OVAs, but they depend on Production I.G for the production work.

Bandai repeated that G-Gundam will be on Toonami, starting in early August. A boxed set will be released in November featuring the first 3 volumes of the series. Individual discs will also be sold for $19.98.

The G-Gundam dub on Cartoon Network will be the same dub found on the DVDs. Fans of the series will be happy to know that the DVDs will also feature an uncut subtitled release with the original Japanese names. Some of the Gundam names have been toned down for the English dub, due to TV standards.

Bandai's September releases include the first volume of the samurai action/comedy Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran, the Outlaw Star: Perfect Collection Box set ($89.98), Fancy Lala volume 2, and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Complete Operations DVD($199.98).

Tsukikage Ran is from director Akitaroh Daichi (Jubei-chan the Ninja Girl, Now Here and Again) and Madhouse Studios (Ninja Scroll, Alexander) Carried by the Wind is a story of Ran, a young ronin samurai on a journey across Japan. She's a master swordsman with a strong sense of honor combined with the courage to fight injustices. Along with Neko martial artist, Myao the two will seek good food, good drink, and great comedy revealing a funnier side to Japan's feudal history.

Central Park Media

Central Park Media's new acquisitions include the rest of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Alien 9, DNA^2(TV and OVA), and Neko Jiro-so.

DNA2 is a romantic comedy about a woman sent from the future to stop the creation of the "Super Playboy" will cause world overpopulation. It is based on a manga series by Video Girl Ai creator Masakazu Katsura.

The second Yū Yū Hakusho movie will be released in October under the translated title Poltergeist Report for the name of the movie. Harmagedon will also include an audio commentary with Rintaro. The Grave of the Fireflies DVD will have an interview with Takahata.

In November, we will see the first volume of The Utena Black Rose Saga. There will also be a Legend of Himiko Boxset which wraps up the series.

CPM hopes to speed up the release of the sci-fi cop drama Patlabor starting with the release of the third volume this December.

Grave of the Fireflies is the biggest release of October, with many excellent and rare extras that American fans have never seen. One of the most important is an exclusive interview with Takahata, the director of Grave of the Fireflies. The famous movie critic, Roger Ebert, also provided an exclusive look at just how emotionally powerful Grave of the Fireflies is. Other features include "then and now" photos, comparing actual locations used in the movie to what they look like today.

FUNimation

FUNimation will be releasing the first two volumes of Yu-Gi-Oh!, based on the merchandising game on September 24th.

Fruits Basket DVD 1: A Great Transformation? will be released on 10/29. Fruit Baskets is a highly praised personality drama with fairy tale elements from popular director Akitaroh Daichi.

Manga Entertainment

The End of Evangelion movie is due to be released on September 24th. Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion will be released together in a box set in December.

Production I.G's (Blood: The Last Vampire) digitally animated Kai Doh Maru is scheduled to released in May 2003. Born a girl in feudal Japan but raised and >taught >to fight as a boy, Sakata-no-Kintoki's "Kai Doh Maru" warrior alter ego incites the jealousy of childhood friend Princess Ouni-Hime over the affections of fellow warrior Raikoh... so much so that the wicked Princess threatens to destroy the entire city.

Read or Die - Coming June 2003: Bibliophilic substitute teacher - and part-time operative for the Special Operations Force of the British Libraries - Yomiko Readman becomes entrenched in a plot for world domination revealed through writings >in the >margins of certain rare books.

Guyver is being worked on. It will have the Japanese Language Track. Virus Buster Serge will be released in September on 3 DVDs. There are legal issue with the Fist of the North Star movie.

They claim the operatic/retro Giant Robo will be released on DVD next year, and ROD(moved to Apr 2003) will be on 1 DVD. There are no dates for Magic Knights Rayearth, a role-reversal remake of CLAMP story of three school girls transported to a mystical land.

Gunbuster will also supposedly be release next year, . Gunbuster is a OAV series from Gainax that has been compared to Evangelion with more of a traditional sci-fi bend.

Astro Boy is moved to 2003 due to Spielberg having a license for the CG movie.

ComicsOne

ComicsOne; has announced the acquisition of four new manga series, including the humorously demented Crayon Shin-chan, the anime version of which has appeared in the UK, and Hawaii.

Crayon Shin-chan follows the adventures of a five year old boy who thinks he understanding the adult world, but ussaully just ends up embarrising he parents with antics like his "shadow elephant".

September ushers in Bride of Deimos, written by Etsuko Ikeda, illustrated by Yuuho Ashibe and printed in the original Japanese "right- to- left" format. This is a dark and brooding yet tantalizing anthology filled with passion, mystery, despair and one lovesick Demon.

Other upcoming releasing include the romance horror anthology Bride of Deimons, the cooking series Iron Wok Jan, and the action series Red Prowling Devil.

Media Blasters

Media Blasters has announced the licensing of 7 of Seven (Shichinin no Nana), Iria (formerly released by CPM), East, See you in my dreams, Gunfrontier, Jungle Emperor Leo, Space Pirate, Tales of Eternia (based on the RPG game), Seraphim Call, Sentimental Journey, and Yume de Atera.

7 of Seven is an adventure comedy series about a girl with seven personalities.

Seraphim Call and Sentimental Journey are based on "life sim" video games.

Jungle Emperor Leo will receive a theatrical release in the United States in 2003, however this will probably only be in art-house type theatres.

Level-C will be released subbed only, and they are looking into acquiring more Yaoi. At Anime Expo they wouldn't rule out the possibility of licensing Gravitation, but as we later found out at the TRSI panel, it was already licensed.

Media Blaster recieved the bounty hunter sci-fi action Iria because of their connection to the live action Zeriam movies, which Iria is based on.

Pioneer

Master Keaton, Ai Yori Aoshi, Lupin III, Gatekeepers 21, Little Snow Fairy Sugar TV and Fushigi Yugi Gaiden (the third OAV, now titled Fushigi Yugi Eikoden ) were announced.

Ai Yori Aoshi is a romantic comedy.

Master Keaton TV series from 1998 from the creator of Yawara about a former SAS soldier turned insurance investigator. Pioneer has tentatively set the title for release early next year, perhaps March 2003.

Chobits-; the popular current late night adaptation of CLAMP manga

Gatekeepers 21- Gonzo Studios currently in production OAV series sequel to the Gatekeepers TV series

The third Patlabor movie 3, Patlabor WXIII has been acquired, with a theatrical release in the works.

Then they showed a new work from Yoshitoshi ABe, creator of Lain and NieA_7 called Haibane Rengo, but don't officially have the rights yet.

For Fushigi Yugi Gaiden, there may be two releases. This is currently in the planning stages. A limited release that would follow the style of the old releases, plus a release of it in a more standard format. Fushigi Yugi: Eikoden is currently planned for November 11th release.

Magical Project S will be on two disc sets, The first 2-disc set will have episodes 1-13 and the second 2-disc set will have episodes 14-26. The discs are DVD-9.

The original Armitage III OAV series is now scheduled for domestic DVD release in November.

Hand Maid May will be released as a boxed set early next year. The Tenchi Muyo! OAV series will be re-released on DVD in America in mid-spring of next year.

Tenchi Muyo! Pretty Sammy TV series, known in America as "Magical Project S," will hit domestic DVD in two 2-disc DVD sets containing episodes 1-13 & 14-26 on November 19th.

Pioneer has launched a website dedicated to Mihoshi and Pretty Sammy from Tenchi Muyo! here.

The apocalyptic super powered drama X TV series, based on the CLAMP manga will be released across eight DVDs starting in September. X TV series will be released starting in September on eight DVD's.

Other release Pioneer schedules:

The Gatekeepers 21 OVA series will be released on two DVD's.

The Fushigi Yuugi: Eikoden OVA will be released in November '02 with a limited-edition mini-pencilboard.

The Right Stuf International

Acquisitions include, Gravitation - TV, Gakuen Senki Muryou (Record of School War, Muryo, Nonamura Hospital, Hooligan, and Spotlight.

The shounen-ai (male homo-sexual romance for a female audience) Based on the manga of the same name by Maki Murakami, the series follows young rock star Shuichi who is struck to the heart when he falls in love at the first sight with novel writer Eiiri. Too bad Eiiri won't give him the time of day. Follow Shuichi's comedic antics and heartfelt trials as he struggles to attain Eiiri's love.

From Madhouse (Vampire Hunter D and Trigun) and writer / director Tatsuo Satou (NADESICO) comes Right Stuf's next acquisition Gakuen Senki Muryou (Record of School War). 2070: Hajime Murata's life radically changes when a boy named Muryou Subaru transfers to his school and he uncovers that Muryou is actually an alien! See the official Gakuen Senki Muryou Japanese website.

The Comic Party license includes all the episodes, including the short ones, and will be released by the end of the year.

TOKYOPOP

Manga pages that are released in color in the Japan will be including as color in future releases. This includes sections of CLAMP's Angelic Layer, and the first 8 pages of their Wish (such should be finished by the end of the year.

Other releases mentioned include Peach Girl, Paradise Kiss, Marmalade Boy, Kodocha, and Mars. Regarding Marmalade Boy, volumes one and two have done very well in stores, and they will soon have announcements regarding the Marmalada Boy Anime. They are also releasing two manwa (Korean manga) Ragnarok and Priest.

They will also be launch a new line of Cine-Manga, comics formed by animated frames. The Cardcaptors Cinemanga comic has already been released. The two titles they are testing the waters with are Akira, Card Captors.

TOKYOPOP biggest licensing announcement was that they have acquired Monkey Punch's Lupin III manga for their Authentic Manga line, to be released in 200+ page volumes starting in November.

The manga follows the life of international master thief Lupin III, who comes from a long line of high-stakes bandits committed to stealing from the rich for personal wealth. Lupin is joined by partners-in-crime Daisuke Jigen, an ex-mafia hit man who carries himself with a somber demeanor, and Goemon Ishikawa, a tacit swordsman who mysteriously fades in and out of Lupin's exploits. Fujiko Mine – a thief herself -- is the object of Lupin's affections, but the duo's romance remains in turmoil as their fierce competition interferes.

They stated that Vampire Princess Miyu about to wrap up, they are making room for more Vampire related announcements.

For GTO, 5 DVDs will be out by the end of the year, and both volumes 4 and 5 will have interviews with the mangaka. They promise that much GTO merchandise is coming. The fourth volume is coming out late because the third was produced sooner than was expected.

As for the future - 1st and 2nd quarter 2003 should bring Brigadoon and Marmalade Boy, with Brigadoon planned for 6 DVDs. Since the Marmalade Boy manga is doing well, they have good expectations for the anime.

Also set for sometime in 2003 are the street racing anime Initial D, and Reign (AKA Alexander.) Initial D is their marquee title, the one they intend to get on TV with positive reactions. However this push on that title may lead to things that will displease many fans - starting with volume 2 of the manga, the characters have all been renamed, and while we are still promised "the original Initial D that you fell in love it. ".The soundtrack question, about whether or not they were replacing the original Euro-beat musical score with a new Americanized one came up, but was not directly answered. They seem to believe they have the Third Stage movie, but no one seemed entirely sure.

Reign, Peter Chung's (Aeon Flux) retelling of Alexander the Great's life, will be on 4 discs. The series was produced by Madhouse and directed by Rintaro.

Viz Communications

The creator of the Cinderella manga series Junko Mizuno will be attending the August Comicon. It was noted she did not fix and color work for the collected edition.

The recently announced Spirited Away film books, based the Miyazaki's most recent movie, with be released in right to left format with untranslated efects. There will be a glossary to define them. They will also be releasing a hard bound Spirited Away art book, and a picture book for younger readers.

The Project ARMS manga will be released in 64 page monthly issues.

Blood manga takes place in the 2000s - same "girl" as in the movie. It is planned for October - 15.95 GN. The third and final GN for Uzumaki is due in October with bonus story that did not run in Pulp. Viz hopes to release more manga by Uzumaki creator Junji Ito, but nothing specific was mentions. Viz will be releasing classic horror manga Orochi the Blood by Tezuka contemporary Kazu Mezu.

Other October released include the Art of Fushigi Yuugi, and the first collected volume of Yumi Tamura's Chicago.

The mildly shoujo themed manga anthology Animerica Extra is selling considerably better than the mature themed, canceled Pulp. Circulation is going up, which should bode well for expanded page counts in the future.

The Inuyasha anime may be released in November. A TV deal is with Cartoon Network delaying the home video release. It will be released on three episodes a $25 disc on a monthly schedule.

American Comic Projects

Newsarama reports starting in November Marvel will be running a four issues series with two short stories per issue. The first issues features a Thor story written by newcomer Marlan Harris and illustrated by manga legend Kia Asamiya (Silent Möbius, Steam Detectives) … that tells the story of a young woman through the vehicle of letters she sends to the God of Thunder over he course of her life.

In the new issue of Wizard Magazine, (#132), it's reported that manga giant Kia Asamiya will join writer Chuck Austen as a regular series penciler as of December's issue #416. Asamiya – who told Wizard he hopes to show his work draws influence from American comics and design as much as manga and anime and hopes to prove manga is not just one style – provides the magazine X-Men sketches, presumably of regular character in the series, and they include Iceman, Angel, Northstar, Nightcrawler, Husk, Wolverine and Juggernaut (who according reportedly will be "hanging around the mansion").

DC's Wildstorm will be releasing a Robotech comic written by Jay Faerber, with art by UDON's Long Vo, Charles Park, and Saka. According to Newsarama the series will be a Macross Saga book, focusing on the original cast of characters, Roy Fokker, Rick Hunter, Lynn Minmei, Lisa Hayes, Admiral Gloval, the invading Zentraedi forces, and the SDF-1. The base story of the Macross Saga begins when an alien spacecraft crash-lands on Macross Island in the South Pacific in 1999.


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